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Paperback Writer

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Paul's story

"Please write your life story, lads!" we were asked.

"Great!" we said. Then came trouble. Who was to be in charge of this great literary work?

"I will be!" said Ringo. So we broke a drum over his head and that soon shut him up.

"I am the one," said John,putting on a superior air. "I'm the genius around here, after all." At that moment, the dressing room door opened rather suddenly, and our budding genius emerged from behind it, nursing his bruised nose.

"I think, with all due respect to you lot, I should do it,"announced old smoothy George.

"Why?" we asked.

"Because today is Sunday." he said, in a nonsensical way he was, so we told him to get a hair cut.

In the end it was decided that I, Paul, should be in charge.

First I had to get some paper. Then I needed a typewriter.

"Why?" asked George. "You can't type."

"I know, but every great writer has a typewriter. It doesn't matter if I don't use it," I said. But no luck. The boys clubbed together and bought me a pencil instead.

"Well go on then," George said, "Write."

"Don't be ignorant, George." I replied. "A writer has to be in the mood to write. I'm waiting for inspiration to come."

I was still waiting for it when the photographer arrived. In the last six months we must have had hundreds of photographs taken. You should see some of them we have to pose in. We climb on boxes and chairs, and hang from railings, and get up to all sorts of antics. The boys and I quite enjoy photo sessions, as long as we are not expected to do too many at a time.

This photo session was quite fun. There was Ringo crouching between the front stall seats, and George grinning like an idiot at nothing. (Well,that was easy for George.) Sometimes photogrtaphers arrive before we've had time to shave or comb our hair ,and they expect us to pose just as we are. This makes us mad. We aren't exactly what you'd call dandies, but we just don't like being shown as unshaven, untidy, scruffy blokes.

When you are in a theatre beforea show there is a relaxed atmosphere. While we posed for photos the other artists were rehearsing with the band. People were wandering about the stage in front of them, and the stage manager was checking the lighting, but they just sang on regardless. Often we don't know any of the other artists on the bill and at the end of a show we still don't know them. It isn't that stage folk are unfriendly: we are all self-sontained units, who turn up at a theatre, sing, and go home.

We were still being photographed when the lights went up, and the public were let into the theatre.

"Gosh,run for it," John said, and we made a hasty departure backstage.

Now we're sitting in the dressing room having finished the first performance, and waiting for the second. John is on the floor singing to his feet, which are balanced above his head. Ringo is watching a cowboy film on the television. I think someone should break the news to Ringo that he isn't a gun, then perhaps he would stop shouting "Bang, bang!" every two minutes. Just to confuse things, George is listening to the radio.

When we first heard ourselves on the radio we thought it was a giggle. Nowadays we are used to it. We always criticize ourselves though. Whenever one of our recorded BBC programs is on the air we say afterwards:

"We could have sung that number a bit louder," or, "The timing could be improved there..." etc.

Ringo just threw a wet flannel at George's head. About five minutes later the blow penetrated through the thick growth thereon.

"What did you do that for?"

"Because today is Sunday,"Ringo replied.

Now we are on stage. The reception we are getting is great. I am watching the audience and thinking about our group. As the sound of applause surges over the footlights I remember back in the old days when we dreamed of the success we are now enjoying: the days when George and I used to play in the end of term group concert at Liverpool Institute, and later the nights hwne the four of us played at the Cavern. We got such a kick out of it when the audience applauded.

We all enjoy performing, but John and I are very lucky to have our songwriting as well. When you write a song it is as though it were part of you. Your brain conceived the idea and your hands put it down on paper. It becomes very important that it is a success.

A couple of autograph books onstage now. It seems a shame to throw them up like this. So many get lost. John kicks one off with what is meant to be a graceful movement, but John being his most graceful is as clumsy as a cart horse.

We get pelted with jelly babies during the First House tonight. Actually, we don't really like jelly babies any more. You can have too much of a good thing, and for the past few months we've been ploughing through tons of jelly babies.

The other day we asked the manager of the theatres we were appearing at if he could order us some steak for dinner.

"Oh no," he said, "I've just swept up a hundredweight of jelly babies, you can't eat steak when there are so many jelly babies to be eaten up."

I must say we prefer steak as a staple diet that is. Not that we want you to start throwing raw or cooked steak onto the stage. I reckon they'd ban us from the theatres through the country if you did that.

It's pretty hot in the theatre now. People are mopping their brows. We must lose pounds a week during our act, when you come to think of it. Our make-up runs all over our faces, and our clothes feel like ton weights round us. As soon as the last curtain falls we rush off and have a good old wash. It's funny how a theatre changes within minutes after a show. Suddenly there is no one there.

I'm the last to leave tonight. I stand on the stage and look out across the empty seats. The theatre looks hollow-eyed. I see imaginary movement in the dark shadows at the back of the stalls. A little while ago these stalls rang with happy sounds of hundreds of girls. I pick up my coat and walk through the theatre to the front entrance. I think about the girls and thank them for their support. Then I look forward to going home. I think about sleep.


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